A while back, Julia expressed interest in a hummingbird feeder, but I wasn’t excited about paying 15+ dollars for some molded plastic. I told her I would make one instead! Something that I thought could be pretty complicated turned out to be pretty easy.
The parts I needed for the hummingbird feeder:
-red, shallow, square tupperware container
-cutting utensil (I used a knife)
-hummingbird food (can be bought or made yourself)
First, take the lid off of the powerade bottle (be sure to hold on to it!) and mark the center of the top of the tupperware container (mine is not very well centered). Now cut a whole in the center of the tupperware top the size of the opening to the powerade bottle. Once that’s done, check to make sure that the powerade bottle fits through the hole and the lid can be screwed back on. The hole needs to be small enough so that when the lid is screwed back onto the bottle, the tupperware lid is stuck between the two.
Next, cut four small holes near the corners of the top of the tupperware container for the hummingbirds to drink out of. Make sure to leave enough of a ledge for the hummingbirds to sit on.
One of the trickier holes to cut is in the top of the powerade bottle. The hole needs to be big enough so that the hummingbird food fills the tupperware container, but not so big that it overflows. In the end, the humingbird food should only come up to the level of the powerade lid and won’t actually fill the whole tupperware container.
Put the gatorade bottle through the hole in the tupperware lid (from the top) and fasten the gatorade bottle lid to the bottom of the tupperware lid.
Once all of the holes are cut, it’s time to get the feeder ready to hang. Powerade bottles are shaped nicely such that you can hang them easily with thin rope (I didn’t have a gatorade bottle, it might be the same with them). I tied two loops around the bottle, one loop for each indentation and then tied the hanging rope from these two sturdy loops. It is a pretty sturdy hanging method and has already survived a couple of thunderstorms.
Within 3 days I heard hummingbirds near the feeder and saw them on the fourth! While this is probably because of the large number of hummingbirds in our area, hopefully your homemade hummingbird feeder will attract them too!
SAFETY UPDATE: Some concerns have been raised about our feeder design and hummingbird food dye. While there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that red dye is actually dangerous to hummingbirds, the red color is the food is not necessary to attract hummingbirds as long as your feeder itself is red. We will be using homemade sugar + water with no dye when we put the feeder back out this summer. Also, there appear to be some feeder designs that allow hummingbirds to get stuck in the feeder. Ours actually has quite wide holes in the top (wider than they look in the picture above – maybe hole-punch sized) – so hummingbirds are not required to stick their beaks in straight down. You can see in the picture of one feeding above that it is actually at quite an angle. There is also no gap around the outside for the birds to get stuck in. We had great use of our feeder all last summer with no hummingbirds getting stuck.